HAITI:His life was one of poverty, crime and violence. Maybe Ricardo's life was doomed from the beginning.
Born into a Port-au-Prince neighborhood, Ricardo's family was poor. As he grew up, Ricardo was desperate for change. Ricardo attended school and his family tried to teach him right from wrong. But by the time he reached 18, Ricardo was ready to make his own way, to make his own choices.
Richardo fit right in"At 18 I abandoned my family and I got involved with drugs and prostitution," remembers Ricardo. With government turmoil dominating so many aspects of Haitian society, it wasn't long before this wayward young man identified himself with the violence on the streets, all in the name of political activism.
"I killed, I broke bones, I blackmailed, and I raped young women," Ricardo says. He made life decisions that he knew would end his life at an early age.
But God took hold of him When he came into contact with the director of the Bible League in Haiti, Jean Bilda Robert, it was a new experience for Ricardo. This troubled young man wasn't used to people expressing love to him or being patient with him.
"Bilda was very tolerant with me," says Ricardo. "After a time, he began talking to me about Jesus." Bilda showed Ricardo that the Bible says he could become a new person.
Ricardo had already decided that his "old person," his old way of living, had no hope or promise for a positive future. He decided to keep listening to the hope-filled words of his new friend.
Slowly but surely the walls came down Ricardo did not come to Christ immediately. But Bilda did not give up. He continued to show the love of Jesus to Ricardo regardless of his response.
But Ricardo could not resist the claims of Christ to make him a new man. "It is with much pride that I announce to the world the changes God has made in my life," says a beaming Ricardo. "I am no longer a slave to drugs or alcohol. I am no longer feared by people. Thanks to God, the Bible League, and my pastor."
Ricardo continues to grow in his new faith. He has been freed of the past and God is using him to share His love with other Haitians who see no hope.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17.
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